In 2013, Whole Foods Market became the first grocery partner to join the Better Buildings Challenge, committing to a 20% improvement in energy use intensity by 2023 across its building portfolio of more than 12 million square feet. This year, Whole Foods Market surpassed that goal two years ahead of schedule achieving a 21% energy reduction.
While working towards its Better Buildings Challenge goal, Whole Foods Market implemented a range of energy efficiency measures. The Whole Foods store in Brooklyn, New York, a Better Buildings Showcase Project, features a 157-kWh combined heat and power (CHP) system as well as a 324-kW solar canopy array, in addition to other energy and water-efficient features. As of 2021, Whole Foods Market has 70 stores and facilities supplementing traditional supply with power from rooftop solar installations.
Whole Foods Market has long been an adopter of low-Global Warming Potential refrigeration technologies, piloting several unique system designs. The grocer has several all-electric stores in California, and stores near San Francisco have piloted a technology that combines advanced cloud computing, predictive analytics, and thermal energy storage to control their refrigeration systems during spikes in energy usage. Whole Foods Market is currently working to retrofit the refrigeration systems at more than 100 of its stores with next-generation Solstice N40 (R-448A) refrigerant, which has a global warming potential that is approximately 68% lower than legacy hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants.
Whole Foods Market also partnered with Eversource Energy to leverage utility incentives and develop a grocery-focused energy conservation package. The partner shared their strategy with the market as a Better Buildings Implementation Model to provide guidance for other organizations looking to follow suit, highlighting key energy conservation technologies and strategies that were more applicable to the grocery sector. Some of these technologies and strategies included refrigeration system replacements, LED lighting upgrades, and Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation.
Whole Foods Market works with stakeholders across the industry to help lead energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. For more information about Whole Foods Market and its accomplishments as a partner in the Better Buildings Challenge, visit the Better Buildings Solution Center.